Monday, October 26, 2009

Loudoun H1N1 Update and Pediatric Advice...

Here's some good H1N1 advice from the Pediatrics at Nite folks (at Dulles Town Center):

(edited for readability)

"Dear Friends:

We closed the week with yet another very busy week. We keep trying to keep working with you and for you.

This weekend we heard that Loudoun Emergency Department was on an 8 hour wait. That people could not find Feverall or Motrin on the shelves. There has been no Tamiflu suspension for a couple of weeks now.

The Influenza H1N1 vaccine program is delayed. We anticipate only 45% of the vaccine allotment for the coming week and 50% for the following week. We have yet to receive any vaccinations. Please see the updated info at CDC :

Please keep calm. If there is a question about H1N1 read our web site or email - Please do not call your pediatrician's or school nurses at this time for routine question on H1N1, or if your child is mildly ill, is not under 2 years of age, asthmatic, diabetic or otherwise at risk. We need to keep the phone lines open to the parents that need help with sick children.

Avoid the Emergency Departments, Retail Nurse Clinics or Adult Urgent Cares. You are going to experience long wait times and the adult retail clinic and urgent cares are not experienced to take care of young or sick children.

We are moving to open at 2 pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday of this week, and at 3 pm on Monday and Friday. We will continue to see patients from 10 am to 10 pm Saturday and Sunday, and we are working to add physicians to both shifts.

We are suspending all non-clinical functions, shifting all of our staff to taking care of patients and have gone to paper forms to speed up our ability to see and take care of patients.

If you need to go to the Emergency Department we highly recommend that you use the INOVA Fairfax Hospital For Children. It is staffed by pediatricians with special training in Emergency Medicine.


The Pediatrics@nite Team"

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Loudoun County HyperLocal News Online – What’s Next in Loudoun Social Media and Blogs in Suburban Washington DC

Quite a lot of news, analysis and conferencing has been going on lately about the challenges of the traditional news community, both online and in print. The advances of “citizen journalism” catalyzed by Internet social media tools like Twitter and real-time search are contributing to far-reaching outcomes - from the demise of long-lived newspapers like Colorado’s Rocky Mountain News and the shuttering of the Washington Post’s hyperlocal experiment, to interesting conversations at the recent REBlogWorld and DC Twitter Conference regarding both opportunities and competitive animosities between journalists and bloggers competing for online “eyeballs”.

When we first moved to Loudoun County in the late 90’s, comprehensive local news was an afterthought to the large newspapers and regional broadcast media, and seemed mostly relegated to the entrenched local papers like Leesburg Today and the Loudoun Times. Of course, the citizen and business population was quite lower, too. Actual or “near real time” news was only gained via local radio and special TV reports, perhaps a radio-shack emergency band scanner, and the growing proliferation of neighborhood online chat, discussion and email groups. Very few non-personal blogs existed, but picking up the phone was still useful to contact local authorities and reporters.

Today, our “situational awareness” of local and regional events is multi-channel and immediate, and can be filtered to precise interests, sources or level of abstraction. This past Friday night, for example, large explosions permeated our neighborhood – a bit odd for this time of year, but immediately provoking both memories of a deadly natural gas explosion in 1998 and our latent, persistent homeland-security uneasiness. Finding out what was happening was pretty efficient – a few searches on Twitter, a look at the local events calendars, a call or two to the neighbors…a homecoming football game fireworks display was the culprit. “Traditional media” coverage was to be found the next day, in game reviews and search engine results…but event-to-analysis lag was at least 12 hours.

Where then, and why, should we be going to find the best “hyperlocal” news as a Loudoun County resident? Is “hyperlocal” truly relevant, particularly in this area of interstitial communities, long-ranging commuters and multi-county politic, economic and government service dependencies? Can traditional publishers of general interest news and the journalists they support coexist with or ultimately become the “Internet Media” Geoff Livingston alluded to in his prognostications for the future of social media?

This particular blog is an example of a constantly evolving solution to our Loudoun County and regional news interests. While started many years ago in response to a hyperlocal “Comprehensive Planning Amendment” (CPAM) issue in the Braddock Road/Dulles South area, it’s grown to include and syndicate information about mostly business, education and community interest items not only in the Loudoun County/Dulles South region, but in Western Prince William, Western Fairfax, and other Northern Virginia areas. We broadcast information through most online social media channels (such as @loudoun on Twitter), aggregate and curate great material from Loudoun-centric news sources, citizens, businesses and nonprofits (for example via @loudoun_news), and syndicate this material as necessary to regional and national channels (for example through, our Loudoun Times blog, @northernva_news, and many social media sites including Mixx and LinkedIn.).

We asked other prominent local bloggers and journalists who’ve routinely covered Loudoun County local and regional news what their perspectives were to these questions. For example, Dan Sousa, a self-described “old newspaper guy who has worked for newspapers for more than 30 years” relates; “When I speak to high school journalism classes and ask how many kids read a paper daily and not a single student raises their hand - then the writing is indeed on the wall! What will replace the newspaper as the "hyperlocal" news deliverer? Probably not 1,000 competing blogs, but the future may lie in a collaboration or network of these new journalists into portals that present their niche offerings to the public as part of an overall patchwork of Loudoun coverage.”

Sousa’s broad and detailed coverage of local Loudoun sports (prep/high school and youth) at and LoudounPrepSports reflects his opinion that “even though Loudoun is home to far-flung commutes and a wide array of interests and cultures, "hyperlocal" news still matters especially in those areas closest to home such as education and high school and youth sports. Where is the next high school going to be built? What about recent crime in my neighborhood? How did the local football team do Friday night? What time is the local book fair Saturday? These are all questions that tie a community together, whether the neighbors are transplants from New Jersey, lifelong Loudoun residents or a family that recently emigrated from India.”

A very similar perspective comes from Erin Rice at (and the organizer of the very successful Loudoun “Bloggers for Good” charity support events), who says “I've found hyperlocal news to be incredibly helpful in ad hoc but frequent and repeatable situations. I use local sources to learn about community events, opportunities, and news events. When there was a violent crime in my neighborhood, local news was extremely important. I relied on it to find out what happened, the status of the investigation, and how it affected me. As rumors circulated and panic mounted, it was local -- and reliable -- news websites that kept me informed and even influenced my behavior, suggesting ways to get involved and stay safe. The importance of local news grows as community ties grow stronger. The more skin we have in the local "game," in areas like schools, public safety, access to health care, traffic, government, taxes, real estate values all increase the dependence we have on hyperlocal news. National news is critical, but access to local information is equally important. Frankly, on any given day, construction on Route 7 or a new school lunch policy can affect my world more than any bill before congress.”

Here at Gateway to Loudoun, we’re not journalists in the formal professional definition. We are, however, recognized subject-matter experts in many areas (mostly enterprise systems engineering and architecture, social media, internet marketing and business management), and we know many other SMEs who have much to add to the intellectual conversation and analysis of Loudoun-related material. The timely and relevant insight available from these SMEs ranges from widely-covered technology issues to very local Loudoun politics, sports, education, real estate, business services and wine making. This network of SMEs and contributors is a hugely valuable source of information, and does include trained journalists. Much of our own analysis and research for use in publishing (whether for business, marketing or community use) certainly leverages the work of journalists, and much of it doesn’t – especially the more “real-time” material, or very subject vs. event-specific topics. I’ll point out that information posted by SMEs, journalists, media, bloggers and everyone else on the Internet is equivalently classified as “unverified open source” by the government when it comes to authoritative sources of information for real-time incident management operations – it’s all scanned, it’s all considered and much very quickly does become “verified” in context, on merits of trustworthiness and substantiated relevance.

Therefore, we’ve created a citizen-sourced “Loudoun Internet Media” hub of sorts - that while somewhat subjective to our interests, is published, personalized, accessible and syndicated in a manner that it can quickly, in near real-time provide a broad cross-section of Loudoun news and information from citizen and business perspectives, and routes to find more. It’s also helpful to include some advertising – this ensures the capability to keep the hub operating and brings local businesses and nonprofits to the table to communicate their own events in an equitably recognized manner. We’d expect other blog-centric Internet Media hubs to develop, and the network of blog hubs with attending links of relationship-vetted contributors and SME-vetted material to become a truly verifiable source of news as you need it in Loudoun.

While Internet search will continue to be a primary channel find a lot of this, as Google and Bing move towards more “real-time indexing” of sites like Twitter, the need for a constant destination site or “dashboard” will remain (as will, we predict, the need for the armchair dashboard – i.e. printed newscopy). Some local news sites are evolving this way, for example the Loudoun Times with its local and well-known blogger corps mix of employed and citizen journalists, its balanced use of multi-media and granular RSS feeds, its not-too-intrusive advertiser promotion, and its quickly growing and conversational Twitter presence.

Keep up with Loudoun County Internet Media AND Traditional Media sources here at Gateway to Loudoun County, through the sources and web channels of those mentioned in this article (we’ve conveniently assembled a list of notable Loudoun-news tweeters here; all media sources are aggregated under @loudoun_news), and through subscriptions to other Internet Media services who cover or syndicate what our hyperlocal knowledge community produces.

The Loudoun News BlogRoll

Here’s The List of notable, active, general Loudoun news-centric blogs to follow – not just from Loudoun, but about Loudoun.

There do exist other blogs, directories and websites associated with Loudoun in one way or another, though not as focused on actually delivering news and information about Loudoun - or simply not very well-maintained or delivered. KME Internet Marketing has the entire list of Loudoun-centric online traditional and social media websites, blogs and directories, along with the return-on-investment estimates (ROIs) for local advertisers to use them (if they accept advertising) us if you'd like to take advantage of this.

- Ted & Kelly

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Real-time Loudoun County News, Business and Information on Twitter

Are you using Twitter? Think of it as another channel on your TV - turn it on every once in a while (or simply stare at the feed all day long on your blackberry, as we do!), and scan what's happening. Follow your favorite "tweeple", meet some new ones, and check these handcrafted, knowledgeable sources out for more info about Loudoun...

@loudoun - our primary Twitter
@loudoun_news - a hand-curated, metered aggregation of Loudoun-centric media and tweeters
@northernva_news - another aggregation, but covering all of Northern Virginia
@fairfax_county - another aggregation, covering Fairfax to the east

(Note these are not "official" government channels - though most gov't sources are included in these aggregated feeds.) For example:

@loudouncountyva - official Loudoun County
@fairfaxcounty - official Fairfax County

There's also now a new Twitter @loudounhealth we've set up to monitor Loudoun health/H1N1 media, and to monitor various physician/health center page updates on the subject. Not much info is readily available in social media from Loudoun providers at the moment, without going directly to particular websites or news outlets.

Find some other notables at this "Loudoun News/Info Twitter List"

Send us more suggestions of the very best Loudoun-Centric news, business, education, community information blogs!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Northern Virginia Sedation Dentistry - Remove the Bleah, Stoke the Happy

Most of us have memories extending to childhood of visits to the dentist. They’re not always very happy memories, though your regular early dental care went far towards the great smile you’ve got today (especially if you lived through the agony of braces and retainers). Visits to the dentist today are quite a bit more comfortable and efficient, for typical cleansing and routine oral care. The fluoride treatments taste better, the drills aren’t quite as loud, and some offices even provide ceiling mounted TV or Internet access to take your mind off the proceedings (if you’re not texting or dentweeting away).

Many dental procedures, however, still provoke anxiety, fear and legitimate discomfort no matter how comfortable the dentist’s chair is, how reassuring your dentist is, or how ergonomically advanced the oral care or surgical instruments and tools are. After all, your teeth and gums are very sensitive, most significant procedures require a lot of intrusive, painful activity in your mouth, and it’s really hard to ignore the high-pitched drills and associated sounds of uncomfortable, invasive foreign machinery in your head. Suction, please – now rinse and spit. Bleah.

No wonder “sedation dentistry” is now quickly building a popular following among the legions of us who truly fear and loathe the dental visit, regardless of the extent of work to be done. Sedation dentistry in DC and Northern Virginia is used to provide a relaxing and anxiety-free experience for certain people receiving dental treatment, enabling those who may be too afraid to go to the dentist to receive the dental care they need, while avoiding a common apprehension called “dental phobia”. You’re actually happy to be there – and certainly feel good about the results.

Sedation is a process used to establish a relaxed, easy and calm state through the use of sedatives. Sedative drugs (tranquilizers, depressants, anti-anxiety medications, nitrous oxide, etc.) can be administered in a variety of ways. Patients do have alternatives to the traditional methods of inhalation (nitrous oxide or “laughing gas”) and IVs – a "no needle” (meaning, no injection) approach very commonly used for oral sedation tends to appeal to most people. The medications create such a comfortable experience that most patients don’t remember the visit; it’s as if they slept through the whole treatment (this is very helpful for longer and more complicated procedures, and can reduce the number of successive procedures required – i.e. the “Teeth in a Day” concept, a real time-saver). However, oral sedation dentistry does require an appropriate level of consciousness in the patient for proper medical safety and cooperation.

As one of the pioneers of sedation dentistry in Northern Virginia, Dr. Winkler with our friends over at the Winkler Centers for Sedation Dentistry in Burke have helped thousands of people overcome their fears and create many new, healthy smiles :). Dr. Winkler’s passion for helping people has revolutionized the art and science of sedation dentistry and greatly contributed to the evolution of the overall anesthesia dentistry field. Dr. Winkler is on the cutting edge of implant dentistry in the DC area, and has been placing dental implants for 20 years. He has also utilizes the concept of “Minimally Invasive Surgical Techniques (MIST),” utilizing lasers and micro-surgical techniques to reduce healing time and provide optimal results with minimal discomfort – a “Total Dental Solutions” outcome.

Find out more about the leading methods, practices and advantages of sedation and anesthesia dentistry in Northern Virginia, by contacting the Winkler Centers for Sedation Dentistry or visiting their website, at


Saturday, October 10, 2009

#fail Washingtonian - Why You Should Love This School - Thomas Jefferson

Our blog title is actually a carefully chosen phrase, since we're prone to using Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization techniques around here in Northern Virginia. This latest issue of The Washingtonian features a really good, insightful and factual writeup of the very best high school in America, Thomas Jefferson. But the magazine's front cover is a horrid, nasty and insulting dig at the greatness of the school and its hard-working, motivated students - for which the editor quite literally should be fired (or at least counseled on the impact of search engine marketing).

While the reviews of fascinating, very likeable students and the world-class opportunities made available to them are motivating reading for all those parents in this area striving to offer their children educational opportunity, this stupid attempt at politically-tainted humor simply squashes the hard work and sacrifice these students and parents have made to rise above the sludge that is our local and US public educational system and politics. The magazine content is an incredible dichotomy of the inane and vapid vs. intellectual, with the TJ article immediately following some pure DC fluff and flotsam about "the most stylish people"....something we sincerely hope none of our children or those in great schools around the region ever aspire to.

From a Northern Virginia online advertising, marketing and reputation management perspective, this is a pure slam-dunk for the Washingtonian, and pure horror for TJ and its students....the article has generated plenty of controversy and reader reaction, probably selling many more copies and generating increasing traffic to its site (we're guilty of supporting this, simply by posting this blog...though we'll not include any page-rank enhancing backlinks). The online marketing inanity comes from the search engines....simply search in Google for "Northern Virginia Most H$%ed High School" - you'll see what we mean (again, we're not going to actually post these despicable phrases).

As the tweeters say, #fail Washingtonian.

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Sunday, October 04, 2009

JMU Alumni MetroDukes Celebration - 2009 Family Crab Feast in Centreville!

What a perfect way to spend a beautiful Saturday Fall afternoon in Bull Run Park, Centreville - chowing fresh Chesapeake Blue Crabs, tasty selections from Starr Hill Brewery of Charlottesville (find them next at Northern Virginia's spectacular Fall Brewfest, Oct. 24-25!), the kids having fun in huge moonbounces from GoJumps of Northern Virginia, and hanging out with JMU "Metrodukes" alumni... an absolute solid part of our Fall schedule now for years to come.

Alumni to come!

Go Jumps!

Little Dawgz!

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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Middleburg Seven Loaves Charity Concert - SGGL Kicks off VA Fall Races and Polo in Upperville

We spent a fantastic evening last night at the historic Blackthorne Inn & Restaurant in Upperville VA, a hunt-country getaway at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains and historic Ashby Gap once owned by George Washington, reliving UVA Charlottesville concerts in the ampitheatre by (various combinations of) Speidel, Goodrich, Goggin and Lille.

The concert and silent auction benefited the Seven Loaves Services Food Bank of Middleburg - an ecumenical volunteer organization dedicated to providing food, personal supplies, and other assistance to those in the Middleburg community and the surrounding area that are in need of assistance. Sponsors included the Blackthorne Inn, Salamander Hospitality and Fields of Athenry Farm (organic meats).

SGG&L hit the first of 3 sets with many of their older, original work - and amped it up progressively as the jeans, boots and jackets dancing got under way - all under a spectacular moonlit tent setting by the Inn courtyard. (It was a bit disconcerting to hear a full drum set and keyboards with the acoustic foursome; but it certainly made for a more lively party...) The Inn put on a great show, with Fields of Athenry Hors d'œuvres - with full menu fare available in the very cozy, hunt country themed Wolfe Tone's Pub.

We met a bunch of great people - several of whom were in town for the upcoming "5th Annual Ride to Thrive Polo Classic" event, Oct. 10th at the Merriweather Manor Polo fields in Leesburg. This event supports the very popular and successful Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program of Clifton. The Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program provides equine assisted activities for children and adults with disabilities, youth-at-risk, veterans, and their families in an inclusive, community setting. The program was originally chartered, in 1980, as the Fairfax 4-H Therapeutic Riding Program, under the Virginia 4-H extension program.

This program is very much like the Leesburg-based Loudoun Therapeutic Riding Foundation (LTRF), which also provides opportunities for horseback riding and other related activities for therapeutic purposes for children and adults with disabilities. Swing by their 35th anniversary celebration and family fun fair Oct. 24 at Morven Park in Leesburg!

Another great Fall event in horse & hunt country coming up - Brad and Elaine Boland and the Vintage 50 Restaurant Group cordially invite you to join them on Saturday, October 17th at 3pm at the Fields of Athenry Farm...Elaine Boland and Chef Aaron McCloud will be pit roasting and BBQ-ing locally organic-raised Lamb, Beef, Chicken and Pork. Wine pairings, pony rides, face painting, and more are included...10% of all product sales benefit Leesburg's Faith and Family Therapy Dog Program. This program is evolving to place specially trained, GCC certified companion therapy dogs with specially identified, disabled children - much like the very popular and successful Paws4People program out of Round Hill, VA.

Vintage 50 (in Leesburg) and Vintage 51 (in South Riding) Restaurants and Brew Lounges support many Northern Virginia and Loudoun charities and events - including the extremely popular Northern Virginia BrewFest series in the Summer and Fall. This Fall's 3rd annual brewfest/beer festival, a "World Beer Experience", is at Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville, Oct. 24-25th.

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